So as I relaxed in my wonderfully comfortable wooden dining room chair, I was doing "homework" for another online class I'm taking and yes I was drinking 53 x 11 coffee out of my 53 x 11 coffee mug, I wandered over to cyclingnews and found this Lance Armstrong Wind Tunnel. No, it wasn't the Livestrong skin suit that excited, although it was rather fast looking, I was interested in his post wind tunnel interview. Specifically, I focused on one statement he said…"I'm going to ride the Tour of Flanders", (insert screeching tires sound here.) What did he just say? Are you kidding me? Is he trying to be funny?
Of course I'm no pro, but I've ridden the Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Fleche Wallone and the best advice I can give to Lance…stay away, there's a reason you didn't race them before you retired. They're body breaking rides and turn the smartest strongest riders into thumb-sucking momma's boys. I know, I was one of them. Oh, I forgot to mention the freezing rain and 25mph crosswinds. But, I'm not even to my point yet.
I live 30 minutes from the Kappelmuur in Geraardsbergen that is typically 17kms from the finish. I guarantee I'll be on the Kappelmuur the night before, right after I finish the public ride of the Flanders route, for the prime seating opportunities with my rack of Duvel and Leffe and two or three baguettes, a block of Chimay cheese a roll of sweet sausage, and some spray-on EPO repellant.
The Tour of Flanders is unlike any fan friendly classics race in the world. It is a true spectacle that every cycling fan must experience once in their life. I have it marked on my calendar for eternity. It's like a soccer match, car race, beer fest, and bike race all rolled into one. You want to come over, I've got a place for you to stay, and I always have hot 53 x 11 ready.
Onto other headlines, I'm preparing to purchase my first Cross frame later today from the wonderland that is Ebay. I've been energized by going to three local cross races and the beer and food strewn atmosphere. I may even use a 29er frame for cyclocross, unless I get jeered by all the Belgians' wanting to kill me for scarring their sacred sport. I'll stick with the cross bike, obviously you've never seen an angry mob of Jupiler soaked Belgians flailing towards an American who is clearly there to ruin their cycling heritage.
Two friends and I slogged through the mud laden Ardennes forest for an epic adventure through the Houffalize area. We managed to conquer 40+ kms with 30 minute climbs followed by 8 minute descents over and over again. The climbs were ridiculous, if it had not been for the the hours I suffered on the road bike I may not have managed a few of the rutted muddy climbs. It was a great time and surely a ride I'll want to do again as one rocky hiker clogged climb kept me in check and forced me to hike my bike, BOO!!!!!
All is happy and the world is sane except for the Merckx ride I didn't win on eBay.
I did manage to make it to Koksijde to see sage four of the cyclocross worlds. What an event it was, I don't recall who won all I remember is the amount of Belgian beer Idrank and my complete failure to make it to the next days ride. Why can't cyclocross races be more civilized, why isn't there a beer monitor for those of us that can't keep it under control? Why isn't coffee served at CX races? Why can't I win a CX race?